All across the internet today, many sites are participating in a blackout to protest the highly controversial bills, SOPA and PIPA. If you haven’t heard about Congress’ plan to basically censor the internet, you can read the bill here. What SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) aim to do is strengthen the protection for companies against copyright infringement and piracy, for which there are already laws for.
You might ask what does SOPA and PIPA have to do with me or why are so many against it. Personally, I think the intention of stopping online piracy is good. However I think that these bills would do more harm than good. With Congress wanting to go after the platform that the act of piracy might occur on, this could bring down many sites such as Wikipedia and smaller sites. The legal costs to fight any claims of infringement would be steep and sites that focus on posting news would need to enforce a stricter monitoring system to prevent even linking to questionable material that could result in the shutting down of the site and/or legal action.
SOPA and PIPA will have a lasting effect on the gaming industry if put into effect and it’s not just limited to news sites. Indie developers rely on community based sites in order to sell their titles to a vast number of gamers. If a title is produced and released on such a site after SOPA goes into effect, any copyright complaints could shut down the site. This wouldn’t harm just the indie developer in question but the many others relying on the service provide by the site. Not to mention the fear of unintentionally imposing on material that could be claimed as someone else’s. This fear would hinder the creativity needed for the industry to continue appealing to gamers and in turn, halt the progress of gaming.
The hearing for the bills has been moved to February but that isn’t stopping sites from protesting via a blackout. While we at Vivid Gamer oppose the bills, we decided to ask our readers what their thoughts are on SOPA/PIPA and the current blackouts instead of following suit.
What is Community Voice? Community Voice is your weekly chance to make yourself heard on Vivid Gamer. Each week our Community Voice topic is meant to encourage discussion, not only with the staff, but with the community as well. We want to hear from readers of the site, so let us know your opinions on the topics every week, and let’s get something lively going!